Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Captivating Criminality 3: Crime Fiction, Felony, Fear and Forensics

The third Captivating Criminality conference will build upon and develop ideas and themes from the first two, Captivating Criminality: Crime Fiction, Darkness and Desire, and Captivating Criminality 2: Crime Fiction, Traditions and Transgression, which took place at Bath Spa University’s Corsham Court campus in 2014 and 2015. This conference will be organised by Bath Spa University and the Captivating Criminality Network: _______________________________

Professor Mary Evans, LSE, UK.
Tim Weaver, Crime Thriller Writer.
Dr. John Troyer, RCUK Research Fellow & Director of the Centre for Death and Society
Crime Fiction has always been concerned with forensics and draws upon a rich history of the use of forensics in solving crime dating back to a Chinese handbook for coroners called The Washing Away of Wrongs (1247). These days, when we think of forensics the first things that come to mind may well be the cutting-edge of forensic science, often laboratory based and brought to public attention through popular television programmes such as CSI or Silent Witness.

However, forensics has been central both to crime fiction and to gathering evidence in ‘real life’ crime: from the first ‘clues’ used in the emerging literary genre of crime fiction to the recognition that even DNA is not always 100% reliable, forensics is utilised in most of the texts that we would, however loosely, term crime fiction. Felony, having committed a serious crime, is often detected by a combination of forensics and fear; the fear of the felon who attempts to leave no trace. Sometimes a murderer ‘gets away with it,’ such as Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith’s The Ripliad; other times the felon can be wrongly convicted for a crime, or convicted for a crime different from the one they actually did commit, such as Dr.Bickleigh in Francis Iles’s Malice Aforethought. The intersections between felony, fear and forensics will be explored at this conference, and Bath Spa University and the Captivating Criminality Network invite scholars, practitioners and fans of crime writing to attend this international, interdisciplinary conference about these key elements of crime fiction and real crime. Proposals may be based around, but are not restricted to:
·      Forensics, then and now.
·      The Gothic: fear and terror.
·      True crime.
·      The dissected body.
·      The body as evidence (silent witnesses).
·      Crime and clues.
·      Bodily traces.
·      The role of the profiler.
·      The role of the forensic scientist.
·      Seduction and sexuality.
·      The criminal analyst.
·      Poisons
·      Crime professionals as criminals (e.g. dexter morgan, blood splatter expert).
·      Fear and self-punishment.
·      Lack of order and resolution.
·      Crime and cultural memory.
·      The felon and the forensic.
·      Changing cultural definitions of ‘the felon’ and its implications.
·      The felon as public spectacle.
·      Women as perpetrators of violent crime.
·      Maternity and murder.
·      Body farms.

Please send 400 word abstracts to Dr Fiona Peters ( by February 1st 2016. DEADLINE EXTENDED: 1ST MARCH 2016! Proposals should include a title, your name and affiliation, and a contact email address. * Feel free to submit abstracts presenting work in progress as well as completed projects. We welcome proposals from postgraduates. Panel suggestions are also welcomed. Papers will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Delegates will be notified by the end of April.

Attendance fees: £145 (£95 students).

* Please note that these details will be distributed in the conference pack on the first day of the conference.

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